In Memoriam: John J. Smith, Sr.
Industry loses a loyal, generous, devoted and respected friend
By Matt Dwyer
Our industry lost a loyal, generous, devoted and very well respected friend. John J. Smith Sr. passed away on February 21st, at the age of 83. Mr. Smith was preceded in death by his wife Regina N. Smith.
John J. Smith Sr. entered the construction industry from his military service in Korea, in 1952. He started repairing furnaces at Scullen Steel Mill on Manchester Avenue, and then became an apprentice at Roy A. Elam Masonry. During his time with Elam, he rose from a journeyman apprentice to vice president. In 1975, he left Elam to pursue his own business. In 1977, he incorporated John J. Smith Masonry and worked out of the basement, of his home. The first major project for the firm was a Shoney's restaurant on Hanley Rd.
John J. Smith Masonry has been the masonry contractor on projects throughout the St. Louis area. Engineering News-Record, in October of 2014, reported that John J. Smith Masonry, was the seventh largest masonry contracting firm, in the United States. For the past fifteen years, Mr. Smith's son, also John J. Smith, has been the president, of the firm.
In 2000, when Mr. Smith was the chairman of MISL, he received the "Lead Man" award from the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA). The national award, which annually recognizes one individual who has made significant contributions to the masonry industry, was presented at MCAA's convention in Las Vegas.
At the November 4th MCA Monthly Meeting, members honored John Smith, Sr., for serving 34 years as a Management Trustee on the Bricklayers' Union Local No.1 of Missouri Welfare, Pension and Supplemental Pension Boards. John's guidance and service from 1980 to present has benefited countless bricklayers and their families.
John's volunteer service to our industry includes:
- 10 years as Trustee on the Bricklayers' Union Local No. 1 of Missouri Apprentice Fund (1984-1994)
- 34 years as Trustee on the Bricklayers' Union Local No. 1 of Missouri Pension & Welfare Fund (1980-2014)
- 23 years as Trustee on the AGC-Eastern Missouri Laborers' Joint Training Fund (1991-2015)
- 11 years as Chairman of the Masonry Institute of St. Louis (1990-2001)
- 18 years on the MCA St. Louis Arbitration Board (1978-1996)
- 7 years as Region "E" Vice President for our national organization the Mason Contractors Association of America
- Treasurer (1978-1980)
- Secretary (1980-1982)
- Vice President (1982-1984)
- President (1984-1986)
About the Author
Matt Dwyer is the Association Manager for the Mason Contractors Association of St. Louis.